Former Territory Alliance leader Terry Mills donated more than $200,000 to his own now obliterated party while Labor and the CLP both increased their campaign donations by close to 60 per cent in the election’s waning days, disclosures reveal.
The Northern Territory Electoral Commission released the full 2019-20 political financial returns on Wednesday, which covers the period from July 2019 to September 21, 2020.
The ALP raked in $851,963 in total from 1,515 donors, compared to the CLP with $636,076 from 235 donors, and the Territory Alliance raised $542,399 from 316 donors – more donors than the CLP – across that period.
The Greens received only $2500 from two donors.
NT Labor donations increased from $541,702 by about $310,000 from July 31 to September 21, or roughly 57 per cent, during the official election campaign period.
The CLP had only $368,046 by the end of July, but adding $268,030, during the official election period.
Disclosure returns show Terry Mills was the single largest donor to his own party during the election period.
Sources told the NT Independent Mr Mills had made a personal guarantee during the campaign, in an effort to make peace with some disgruntled members, to personally cover the costs of the party’s campaign director and pollster James Lantry.
The records also show Mr Lantry donated $54,500 to Territory Alliance, which is understood to be an in-kind donation for polling data.
The party, however, still listed a $104,600 debt to Mr Lantry’s company.
Political donation returns hard to read as NTEC opts for lump sum, rather than monthly breakdowns
The data released by the NTEC makes it difficult to ascertain what money was donated just before the election – and by whom – because the commission’s policy is to consolidate all the various disclosure periods totals, into one cumulative total covering July 2019 to September 21, 2020.
While total donations and who donated are released, the dates of each of the donations are not disclosed on the commission’s website, making it difficult to determine when precisely the money was paid.
No media reported on the period from July 31 to August 16 which was released by the NTEC at noon the day before the election. The latest figures were not isolated but rather aggregated to the previously released figures.
NT Electoral Commissioner Iain Lognathan said in a statement that a “compliance review” of all donations would be undertaken by BDO Pty Ltd.